Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

The biggest event on the Dota 2 [official site] calendar is almost upon us, The International. Valve’s huge tournament starts on August 3rd, hosted in Seattle as ever, but folks at home can now join in the fun too. The International Compendium update is now live, with packs of virtua Dota Top Trumps cards to collect, swap, and put into fantasy challenge sorts of… look, it’s all complicated. I’ll explain. But most exciting is the launch of the Dota 2 VR Hub, a way to watch matches in cyberspace which I assume lets you nestle between Tidehunter’s legs like he’s a big salty armchair.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

Home Improvisation

Remember how angry I got while building a chair in Ikea-esque furniture build-em-up Home Improvisation [official site] while it was in Early Access? Well, the game is launching its Full Normal Regular Access version (technical term) and has been reworked in ways that will ALLEGEDLY make me far less angry and obsessed with building and rebuilding the same hell chair for a week.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Don’t take my slight sadness at No Man’s Sky being released as a sign I’ve made up my mind about it. I haven’t played the procedural space-‘em-up and so my mind is still wide open. I keep watching these trailers for a hint at whether it could be great and the latest and last, titled “Survive”, is below.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

Okhlos

I’m going to admit something to you. It’s that I initially skipped over the press emails for Okhlos [official site] because from the name I thought it might be a new low fat yoghurt*.

BUT! It’s a videogame! About an Ancient Greek mob trying to overthrow the awful gods of yore! And which now has a release date of 18 August! And is definitely not a yoghurt!

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Emily Short)

Cropped box cover image for Deadline

The first piece of interactive fiction I ever played was Infocom’s locked-room murder mystery Deadline. With a plot that turned on embezzlement and unfaithfulness, not to mention a fiendishly unforgiving set of scheduling puzzles, this is not the game I myself would recommend for a six-year-old. But I suppose my parents figured it wouldn’t do me any harm, and it left me with a long-term affection for interactive mysteries.

The mystery is a natural fit for interactive fiction. The player has a clear goal. The focus of the story is usually firmly on past rather than present events. Locks, ciphers, and other standard puzzles feel at home in the genre. So many classic mysteries are essentially logic problems in fancy dress, so it’s not a great stretch to do the same thing in game form. (In fact, here’s Mattie Brice on why murder mystery writing can teach us about narrative game design in general.)

So if you have a taste for classic whodunnit genres rendered interactive, here are some highlights dating from 1995 to 2016.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

The fab time-travelling teen drama Life Is Strange [official site] is to become a live-action television series, Square Enix announced today. Or whatever it is we’re supposed to call television shows made for cybernet screens. A “digital series”, they say. Netflix or something, perhaps? We don’t know who what where when – or why, really – but we do know Squeenix have partnered with Legendary’s Digital Studios arm for it.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

I’m a little sad that No Man’s Sky is being released.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Prison Architect [official site] technically left early access ten months ago but developers Introversion Software have kept updating their build-o-management game as before. Now they’re finally almost done. After the upcoming release of version 2.0, Introversion plan to call it a day and – aside from fixing bugs which pop up – focus on new things like their pretty cave-scanning game. V2.0 will properly launch next month but you can try a preview version today if you fancy playing with tricky events like food poisoning and mass tunnelling.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

I’ve lined up my suitcase rifle, sawed open my escape route, and written two lines of code to control a small robot when I blink. Blink once and a set of lasers turn off allowing me to enter through a space station maintenance tunnel without triggering any alarms; blink twice and a second set turn off, allowing me to exit cleanly. It’s only a few moments later, as I stand in the vacuum of space, that I realise I left my deck – the computer by which I write scripts to control suitcase rifles, small robots, lasers and more – back in the maintenance corridor.

Quadrilateral Cowboy is a game about breaking into buildings to raid vaults, steal safes and hack coma patients. It’s a stylish, retro-futurist love letter to computing, engineering and ’90s videogame level design. It also feels like the prelude to a better game.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

That's rats!

If special abilities in Quake make some gristly knot deep in your guts writhe and write Internet comments, you might be more interested in Ratz Instagib [official site]. And if your hand is stuck twisted into an MX518-clutching claw, as you’d have me believe, you’ll likely recognise both parts of that name. Ratz, from ye olde Rats maps which have teeny players scurrying around colossal bedrooms and whatnot. Instagib from ye olde railgunning mode where enemies explode in one hit. Combine the two and you’ve got Ratz Instagib, properly launched today after 18 months in early access.

… [visit site to read more]

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